Yasuhiro Kishimoto
1998winners international contributions
Built a school in Nepal at his own cost and devoted himself to providing free literacy education for children
Yasuhiro Kishimoto

Born: 1937; from: Hyogo Prefecture, Japan; printing shop manager, poet

Award summary

Mr. Kishimoto learned to read and write Japanese from his father during his childhood because cerebral palsy seriously disabled him physically and prevented him from attending school. After his father died when he was 8 years old, Mr. Kishimoto earned his high school education in correspondence courses and similarly completed his university education. He lived a life of composing poems while operating a print shop. He visited Nepal in the autumn of 1994, and was shocked to run across a little girl who could not even tell time from a clock. He determined to help educate illiterates in Nepal.

He built a three-story school building in Pokhara in central Nepal in May 1997. Presently, 130 people study at the school without paying any tuition. Mr. Kishimoto uses his savings and the funds donated by volunteers to run the school, including the salaries of four teachers and operating expenses. The number of people endorsing his undertaking is on the rise. A drive called the "Hitotsubo (3.3 square meters) campaign" is under way to construct a playing field adjacent to the school building.

Reasons for this award

Based on his own experience of being unable to study at school, Mr. Kishimoto strongly felt the need to help educate Nepalese illiterates. His way of life, in which he has devoted himself to the education of Nepalese children, even constructing the school building itself, is a pattern that gives no indication of physical disability. His deed will certainly attain major achievements.

Comments from the winner

Even now, I go to Nepal to spend six months there to run the school. I would like to help Nepalese children what little I can because I want them to study no matter how poor they are. I will use the prize to manage the school. Since I was having trouble over how to make ends meet, the prize will keep the school in operation for another year.